How is it possible that Jesus' words have been utilized to justify both pacifist and prowar agendas? Historian Griffith (The Gardens of Their Dreams) is not an iconoclast, but he is not afraid to examine the various ways that Christianity has interpreted Jesus for two millennia. The author wastes no time grappling with some of the most contentious religious issues, such as the role of women in the Church, nonviolence, the celibacy requirement for some clergy and differing notions of what freedom means. Griffith calls it as he sees it throughout history: individuals and groups have twisted Jesus' message to suit their own points of view. The author is a thorough independent scholar, and his concise writing makes historical facts engaging and relevant. His most important take-home message: it is not verboten for people of faith to ask why beliefs and practices developed in a specific way. In fact, it could even be considered an obligation for healthy, committed believers to do so. --Publishers Weekly, Sept. 22, 2009
"The Christ of today is not the Jesus of history. The man - along with his message - became radically altered along the way. In this readable and insightful book that spans the centuries, Brian Griffith carefully documents how Jesus' teachings became changed to suit the predilections and fads of later audiences. This book is an excellent read for anyone concerned with moving beyond popular preaching to what the Jesus of Nazareth really taught." --Barrie Wilson, Professor, Religious Studies, York University, Toronto, Author, How Jesus Became Christian.
About the Author
Brian Griffith grew up in Texas, studied history at the University of Alberta, and now lives just outside of Toronto, Ontario. He is an independent historian who examines how cultural history influences our lives, and how collective experience offers insights for our future. He is the author of The Gardens of Their Dreams: Desertification and Culture in World History, Different Visions of Love: Partnership and Dominator Values in Christian History, Correcting Jesus: 2000 Years of Changing the Story, and A Galaxy of Immortal Women: The Yin Side of Chinese Civilization.